Pontiac, Mich. – December 9, 2023
In a solemn courtroom proceeding, 17-year-old Ethan Crumbley, the perpetrator of the tragic 2021 Oxford school shooting in Michigan, received a life sentence without the possibility of parole. The sentencing, delivered by “Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Kwame L. Rowe,” comes after Crumbley pleaded guilty to 24 charges, including “first-degree premeditated murder and terrorism causing death,” in October 2022.
Judge Rowe emphasized the severity of Crumbley’s actions, highlighting the “extensive planning” involved in the deadly school shooting. Rowe underlined that at any point during the process, Crumbley had the opportunity to change his mind but chose not to, referring to the act as an “execution” and “torture.”
Crumbley, who was 15 years old at the time of the shooting, had previously pleaded guilty to killing four classmates and injuring several others during the tragic incident. Despite his age, Judge Rowe had earlier ruled that a life sentence without parole was appropriate, citing the gravity of the crime and the unlikelihood of rehabilitation.
During the emotional sentencing hearing on Friday, Dec. 8, 2023, family members of the four deceased students—Madisyn Baldwin, Tate Myre, Hana St. Julianna, and Justin Shilling—delivered heart-wrenching victim impact statements. Parents shared the anguish of losing their children, with some recounting the horror of waiting for their children and, devastatingly, never being reunited.
The shooter, Ethan Crumbley, sat silently with his head down throughout the proceedings, only lifting it when directly addressed during statements. In an unexpected move, he delivered his first-ever public statement just before the sentencing, expressing remorse and agreeing with the court’s decision.
“I really am sorry for what I’ve done and what I’ve taken from them,” Crumbley stated. “I can’t give it back, but I can try my best in the future to help other people.”
Survivors of the shooting also shared their experiences, with one student, Aidan Watson, describing the lasting impact on his life, including intense anxiety and panic attacks. Aidan’s mother, Linda Watson, recounted the harrowing night when she picked up her son from a nearby business after the shooting, reflecting on the trauma and the challenges of recovery.
Ashlynne Sutton, a senior at Oxford High School, described being in a bathroom near where the shooting began and pleaded for a life sentence without parole. Other students spoke about the profound changes in their lives and the ongoing struggles with fear and anxiety.
The sentencing hearing provided a platform for victims and their families to voice their pain, grief, and frustration. Crumbley’s court-appointed legal guardian, Deborah McKelvey, argued for parole, citing the shooter’s alleged changes during his two years in custody. However, Judge Rowe maintained that the demonstrated obsession with violence and meticulous planning for the attack outweighed any potential progress.
The sentencing of Ethan Crumbley marks a significant moment in the aftermath of the Oxford school shooting, offering some closure to the affected families while underscoring the ongoing challenges posed by such senseless acts of violence.